1st Edition

The Economics of Intellectual Property and Openness The Tragedy of Intangible Abundance

By Bartłomiej Biga Copyright 2021
    124 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    124 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book focuses on the economic aspects of intellectual property (IP). It includes considerations of the wider category of intangible assets. However, the primary focus is devoted to patents which the author argues are the most vivid example of the Tragedy of Intangible Abundance (TIA).

    TIA touches upon a key issue in the contemporary economy. On the one hand, there is an enormous supply of IP, yet, on the other hand, such an abundance does not necessarily solve existing issues but rather creates new ones as well. This book elaborates on the reasons for the emergence of TIA and its consequences. The author uses clear metaphors to explain very complex issues. The book provides a valuable and interdisciplinary analysis of the field and offers practical solutions. It is based on the data collected by the author during the qualitative research he conducted among a group of start-ups. It presents guidance on determining which instrument is the most efficient for a particular situation. It also provides arguments for decision-makers and their advisors as to why a more open approach towards intellectual property would be more beneficial under many circumstances in the contemporary economy. While universal issues are addressed, the author distinguishes the European perspective too.

    The book is written in a clear and concise style and covers all of the crucial aspects of IP management. It will find an audience among scholars of economics and business.


    1 Tragedies in economics

    1.1 Economics of scarcity

    1.2 Tragedy of the Commons

    1.3 Tragedy of the Anti-Commons

    1.4 Tragedy of Intangible Abundance

    2 What caused the Tragedy of Intangible Abundance

    2.1 Low quality of patents

    2.2 Patent flooding

    2.3 Immeasurable intangible resources

    2.4 Propertisation of intangible assets

    2.5 Intensified complexity of innovation

    3 Indications of Tragedy of Intangible Abundance

    3.1 Intellectual property demand and supply mismatch

    3.2 Intellectual property law has become an arms-race field

    3.3 Patent thickets and entry barriers

    3.4 ‘Patent trolls’ (non-practising-entities)

    3.5 Ineffective legal intellectual property protection

    4 Toward openness – counteracting the Tragedy of Intangible Abundance

    4.1 Systemic measures

    4.2 Sectoral measures

    4.3 Company prospects: directed diffusion

    4.4 Benefits from directed diffusion

    4.5 Directed diffusion: instruments



    Bartłomiej Biga is an Assistant Professor in the Public Economy and Administration Faculty of Cracow University of Economics, Poland.